Friday, August 28, 2009

Kicking An Ant Hill

John Oxendine has a solution to Atlanta's traffic problem.

The nicest thing I can say is at least it isn't the loopy double-decker, 27 mile tunnel Connector idea.

He wants to build a second connector on the east side of Atlanta.
If you look here at the map, you can actually see we could build a connector — a parallel connector — running from the 400/85 corridors, going through [East Atlanta]…
Been there, done that, got the tree hugging chains to prove it.

The problem with Commissioner Oxendine's idea is that it was tried in the 70's when Georgia 400 was originally planned to connect to what is now I-675. It then reared its ugly head again with the Carter Parkway fight. Both times, the intown neighborhoods rose in a furor and defeated some of the most powerful political forces in the state. (History of Ga-400 on Wikipedia)

Do you really think it would be any different this time? I can almost hear the rattle of chains as grannies begin picking out trees in the paths of bulldozers.


chamblee54 said...

Has anyone ever heard the phrase "Dumb as an ox"?

Icarus said...

Lest I attempt to convey what Ox is actually "thinking" (those are air quotes),

The two times this was tried before, Democrats controlled the state, and lib'ral tree hugging emory elitist types live in the path between 400 and 675.

Republicans from places like Paulding County and Hall County are tired of being told that they haven't done anything to solve Atlanta's traffic.

And all their constituents care about is trying to drive 80 MPH THROUGH (not to) Atlanta.

The political calculus may be different this time.

Ox supporters don't want a Northern Arc. But they're probably pretty willing to plow thru Druid Hills.

Ox supporters don't have a NIMBY problem in Druid Hills.

griftdrift said...

I think that political calculus is probably pretty valid. HOWEVER, this would be a P.R. nightmare. Seriously. It's an ant hill. You'd have grannies standing on their porches talking about raising three generations of kids in the neighborhood and how it would now be gone gone gone.

Barnes or whatever Democrat would immediately come out swinging saying "Oxendine wants to build through their neighborhoods, maybe he wants to build through yours next. And I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen".

Rusty said...

Not to mention all the black people living in EAV makes it pretty easy to paint him as a racist.

Sara said...

The politics may have changed some, but there's still a lot of money in Druid Hills and the other neighborhoods that would be plowed through or otherwise affected by this proposed highway. Those folks have a history of being pretty politically active with their dollars. This could lead to a huge cash infusion for Ox's Democratic opposition next year.

Icarus said...

Let's stick with the political calculus issue only here.

Rusty, you're saying Ox will be labled a racist. He's already a Republican. Remember the Bull Conner ad from the FulCo race last cycle? Aren't Republicans already getting less than 10% of the AA vote? And Ox is trying to win a primary.

Ask yourself, does this charge hurt, help, or make no difference whatsoever.

And Sara, do you really think the money and/or motivation will be that different about hostility toward Republicans from that neighborhood if this plan didn't exist?

Versus, on the exurban Republican side, where commuters from the Republican hinterlands spend over an hour each way in their cars to get to Atlanta, will they be more or less likely to support someone who has a plan to "do something"?

Rusty said...

I don't argue that it isn't smart pandering to people who actually might vote for him.

But where I think we disagree is I think stirring the ant hill has the potential to attract a substantial crossover vote against him. I even think the Anybody-But-Oxendine sentiment would be strong enough with Thurbert Baker still in the Dem primary. I live in EAV, and I can assure you this proposal won't go unnoticed here.

Of course, I could be wrong. Historically, the effect of crossover voting has been difficult to quantify in this state. But it seems to have taken a chunk out of Ralph Reed and Cynthia McKinney, so why not a candidate for governor?

Sara said...

I think a real threat of a highway being built in their neighborhoods will motivate a lot more donating than would otherwise occur. Nothing quite fires people up like telling them their home might be seized under eminent domain and then bulldozed.

griftdrift said...

Ick, I think you're right. It's a primary ploy and might be a smart one. Although I wouldn't discount Rusty's crossover argument. North of I-20, those neighborhoods aren't as solidly Democrat as you might think.

But is the upside really that great? He make shake a few trees in Handel-land but is it worth the blowback of possibly looking like a loon who wants to bulldoze through the city (somebody may want to remind him being against eminent domain is a Republican issue)? It just seems an odd place to stake your flag.

rptrcub said...

It plays to his base. Just eliminate the queers, Jews, blacks and liberals on the east side of town. Solves all the problems.

I'm crossing over in 2010 just so I can vote against this douchebag.

Icarus said...

I've had a chance to take a quick look at the AJC article, but still haven't watched his infomercial.

If it was mentioned here or on Creative Loafing that Ox also proposed to build the Northern Arc, I missed it.

If you guys are looking for a political strategy, it won't be from stirring up those in EAV and Druid Hills, it will be stirring up the NIMBY's in the exurbs. That's where your votes are.

Unknown said...

Yes connect 400 & 675! Steve Davis can you help get this done?

Cousin Pat said...

Sorry to hear this is all about political calculation and not about needed infrastructure improvements.

I didn't see much coordinating these plans with the proposed I-14/Fall Line Freeway or I-3 corridors.

And if anyone is looking for what happens when you bulldoze old, in town neighborhoods in favor of interstates and expressways, please come visit New Orleans and ask to see the Treme neighborhood.